Glass manufacturer looking for 265,000 cm/d gas

Vol 12, PW 6 (07 Aug 08) Midstream & Downstream

Strange as it sounds, but India’s largest glass manufacturer AIS Glass needs 265,000 cm/d and is ready to pay market rates but can’t find a willing and ready supplier.

With 95% market share, AIS is the country’s largest producer of windscreens and windows for cars and has two factories: one at Taloja on the Mumbai to Pune highway in Maharashtra producing 500 tonnes of glass a day and one in Roorkee, in remote Uttarakhand, formerly a part of Uttar Pradesh, producing 700 tonnes of glass a day. Taloja has a gas requirement of 115,000 cm/d and Roorkee has a gas requirement of 150,000 cm/d.

Right now both factories are using expensive furnace oil but high crude prices are forcing AIS to look to gas as a cheaper option. “Furnace oil costs have gone up sharply because of the rise in global crude prices,â€‌ reports AIS.

“If someone can offer us gas at the same price or slightly less than what we pay now for furnace oil we would be happy to sign a long-term contract.â€‌ Among the biggest losers of any decision by AIS to switch to gas would be Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil, who both supply furnace oil to AIS: IOC supplies around 105 tonnes for Roorkee; for Taloja, BPCL supplies around 90 tonnes a day.

Why exactly IOC or BPCL can’t switch to selling gas instead is unclear: each holds 12.5% equity in Petronet-LNG and is an authorised re-seller of R-LNG from Dahej. Until now AIS has met everyone in its desperate bid for gas: Petronet-LNG at its Delhi office; GAIL at its Mumbai and Ahmedabad offices; Shell at its Ahmedabad office; GSPC at its Gandhinagar office and Gujarat Gas at its Ahmedabad office.

“The response from these companies is not encouraging,â€‌ we hear. “GAIL also conveyed its helplessness.

â€‌ Last month AIS even approached Reliance to buy D6 gas for its plant at Taloja, to no avail. In the first week of this month AIS, also met BPCL and IOC.